A tale of food, confidence and a 37-hour labor

Whenever I would tell a fellow Southerner about my plan to have a drug-free water birth, I would always receive the same reaction: skepticism and a lecture about how painful it would be. Although I would always answer their criticism with the same reply, "I have never been in labor so I know it may be too painful — I am just going to try." What can I say? I am people pleaser. It is not in my nature to challenge those who seem more experienced. In my heart I knew I could do it. I could only think of one thing that might shake my confidence: a long labor.

My doula didn't answer her phone but I had a good hospital delivery anyway

I enjoyed working with the doula and thinking about how I could "reframe" pain and manage my panic in labor (panic is a big thing for me). I also prepared "birth affirmations" and put them on index cards for the doula to read to me when I started to panic during labor. I also read a wonderful book called The Big Book of Birth that gave much information about labor both physiologically and psychologically.

My pain-med-free four-day induction

Like many first time pregnant moms I envisioned that my labor and delivery would go a certain way. I planned a natural birth using Bradley Method techniques, hired a doula, and anticipated laboring at home for as long as possible before heading to the hospital to deliver. I wanted minimal medical interventions and no drugs. I managed to pull off the no pain medication and a vaginal birth, but only after a four day induction and a heap of drugs helped get me there. Here's how it all went down.

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42 hours of back labor was actually pretty awesome

I had enjoyed an easy pregnancy without many of the usual issues, but as we reached the 40th week I was ready to be finished! We had decided to go with a midwife for our prenatal care and the birth, and also brought in a doula on the recommendation of a few friends. We also definitely wanted a hospital birth, so we made sure to choose a nurse midwife who was affiliated with the best maternity hospital in the area. I run with a fairly offbeat crowd, but having the baby anywhere other than a hospital was just not for me. I was hoping to not take any pain meds, but was fine with doing so if that's how it went.